Do you know the difference between “forego” and “forgo”?

Now you do, thanks to the Wall Street Journal’s Style and Substance column:

forego: to go before

forgo: to abstain from


  1. It's surprising how many of my literate acquaintances never learned this distinction. A year ago, I helped hire a young tech writer for our group. During her interview, she was passionate about using English properly and cited several pet peeves. Our kind of writer!
    Months later, she edited one of my proposal sections. I complimented her for recognizing that I had spelled "forgo" correctly, without the e.
    "Oh, I did?" she replied. I must have missed that. So there are two ways to spell it? Are you sure?"

  2. On Jan. 4, Eric Wemple misspelled forgo in The Washington Post:
    "A number of critics have blasted The Post for its handling of the story, and this blog will forego a laborious reconstruction of the affair."

    I wonder whether he had spelled it correctly but was "corrected" by a misguided intern.